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Reading list for social networks

Reading list for social networks

Keeping with my tendency to collect reading lists, here’s a list of readings on social networks. I’m doing research and early design work around some concepts involving social networks, so suggested resources are welcome.

I was trying to phrase my discomfort about the current trend to apply network theory (especially power laws) willy-nilly to social networks, and thankfully Anne already spoke more eloquently than me. The above stuff is written by social scientists, not physicists, their eagerness to contribute notwithstanding.

From Seb’s Open Research

4 responses to “Reading list for social networks”

  1. Anne

    Social networks are strange ;)

    I looked through your bibliography, and confess to knowing very little about economic sociology, but am struck by a lack of non-structuralist approaches to social networks. Is this purposeful? (No judgement – just asking ;)

    If you are interested in different types of approaches, you might check out Actor-Network Theory and stuff like this on fluidity and flow that emerged in response. And the papers have some excellent bibliographies.

    If you do look at this stuff, I’d love to hear if it is applicable to your work.

  2. Chad

    My lack of non-structuralist approaches isn’t purposeful – I’m just getting started with research and ran across the list on my daily haul of RSS feeds. But thanks for asking, and also for telling me what else to check out.

    Still trying to pick amongst possible projects (ah, the luxuries of grad school), right now I’m interested in the social dynamics of fairly lightweight collaboration/interaction amongst semi-strangers – neighbors you might have met once or twice, people at the same bar that you’ve seen before, etc. I’m not even sure if the network stuff applies to such loosely affiliated groups – it’s more likely to be relevant to some other stuff I’m considering.

  3. ud235

    hey, this is pretty cool stuff…have you considered the notion of “serendipity” in social relatinoships and how interactive media/artifacts can facilitate or hinder serendipitous encounters and the continuity of such social moments?

    just some (brightlycolored) food for thought :) good luck…

  4. Chad

    Hey Uday. Yeah, serendipity is definitely something I’ve been thinking about. What if I need fresh spinach for tonight’s meal, and you, my neighbor, happen to be going to the store this afternoon? I don’t know if that’s a “fortunate discovery” so much as a well-timed event – maybe it depends on the means that make it a “discovery”.

    Or, what about people discovering people with similar musical interests at a bar – is it only serendipitous if something that’s fortunate has some real significance?

    Focused less on the social, there’s serendipity in discovering useful but unexpected resources in a library through browsing the stacks or other means. How can you design to make seredipitous finds even more likely to occur?